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Reviews Written by
Big Ben "fly_mo" (Bedford, UK)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Two Tier Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary Gift Towel Cake
Two Tier Golden 50th Wedding Anniversary Gift Towel Cake
Offered by Bizzie Bees
Price: £32.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good looking gift, 17 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Looks good, and great fun for "The Day", with an implied invitation for the couple to enjoy a glass or two in the bath.
Love the thought of that...
The face cloths and hand towels are OK quality, and will hopefully serve as a reminder of the anniversary for the couple.
Recommended as a cheerful gift for a tenacious couple.


Men's Warm Thermal Knit Fingerless Winter Gloves (Beige)
Men's Warm Thermal Knit Fingerless Winter Gloves (Beige)

4.0 out of 5 stars Neat gloves, surprisingly good fit., 17 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are a boon for creaky hands. Keeping the joints warm really helps me cope.
At the same time, young folks tell me they are fashionable!
Not something I hear very often.
Although smallish (compared to my massive hands) they are stretchy and fit well.
The gloves work equally well on either hand, which saves having to work out which is which in the dark.
Theoretically this would imply that the fit will be imperfect, but the stretchiness accommodates the difference between left and right perfectly for me.
They are a great help in maintaining the flexibility to play the guitar and the ukulele (for example) and don't get in the way.
Recommended if the joints are getting creaky, or you fancy a fashion statement...


DBF2002 Bow Tie For Men Grey,Dark Green,Red,Orange,Blue Solid Poly Pre-tied Bow tie Present Box Set 5T By Dan Smith
DBF2002 Bow Tie For Men Grey,Dark Green,Red,Orange,Blue Solid Poly Pre-tied Bow tie Present Box Set 5T By Dan Smith
Offered by Men's Fashion
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well made, look good too., 17 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Party time ties! Pretty good quality, too.
Wear one to the office only if you need to be noticed.... Wore mine to a "Cocktail Party" themed event, and it did the job. Once adjusted, it was comfy and stayed in place.
Would work equally well in a more formal situation wherever a made-up bow tie is acceptable.
To add to the fun, change the tie colour every half hour...
<giggle>
Recommended!


PIXNOR 22-in-1 Professional Mobile Phone Repairing Opening Tools Pry Spudger Screwdriver Kit for iPhone iPad iPod Samsung Nokia HTC
PIXNOR 22-in-1 Professional Mobile Phone Repairing Opening Tools Pry Spudger Screwdriver Kit for iPhone iPad iPod Samsung Nokia HTC
Offered by Ubuywills
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Versatile set of tools., 17 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With a wide choice of tools this helps to open most of the weird plastic fastenings found on today's electronics stuff. It's good for most of the 'stuff' (Laptops, 'phones, fondle-slabs, routers etc) that I've had a go with lately. Reasonable quality and versatile.
Recommended if you need a set of tools for this purpose.


Storm&Lighthouse New 3 in 1 Metal & Plastic Spudgers Set Repair Opening Pry Tool for Apple iPad iPhone 3gs 4 4s 5 5s 5c Samsung Nokia
Storm&Lighthouse New 3 in 1 Metal & Plastic Spudgers Set Repair Opening Pry Tool for Apple iPad iPhone 3gs 4 4s 5 5s 5c Samsung Nokia
Offered by storm&lighthouse
Price: £4.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Good spudger kit., 17 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good set of tools that is designed to help out with all the naff plastic closures that we endure in the world of electronics. Good-enough quality and a reasonable variety of tips makes this a good choice when prising open boxes of electronics (phones, laptops, tablets, routers etc) for whatever reason.
Recommended if you need some spudgers!


Bugs Gear SCGUK11BK Ukulele with Bag Black
Bugs Gear SCGUK11BK Ukulele with Bag Black
Price: £27.25

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Would make an unusual wall ornament..., 10 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
...but it really is not properly playable, which is so sad.
And we bought two of them.

Opening the box and unwrapping the first elegant black ukulele was a great pleasure - we'd planned to give both of them to young relatives, since ukes can be such fun! Don't need to be loud ones, but they do have to be playable.

They weren't expensive, so we did not expect a perfect instrument, although they were (according to the page) reduced from £34.50 - you can get some reasonably good soprano ukes at that price, and the earlier (plastic) "Bugs Gear" ukes did play OK.

But the details on the page also said:

...."Premium quality starter soprano ukulele"
It is not premium quality. Although shiny, it does not even qualify as a musical instrument since it cannot be played in tune.
That's "Not of merchantable quality" as set out in the Sale of Goods Act.
(More on this below)

...."Perfect starter instrument for learning at school or home."
No music teacher I know would permit this in class, too frustrating by far. Distinctly not perfect, in fact.

...."Comes complete with protective carry bag"
Yes, it does have a bag with it.

...."Large offset tonehole and deep body for better tone and projection."
In theory, yes, but the body material used (thickish plywood, with hardboard (hardboard!) used for bracing the back) prevents a truly good tone. We'd not expected much tone at the offer price.

...."Rosewood fingerboard and cutaway body for improved payability." (sic)
A nice-looking fingerboard, it would play well if it was all in tune. The cutaway is there for access to the higher frets for solos, but this is never going to work since the built-in tuning error is massive up there.

The plan was for me to tidy up any rough frets, high action - the usual things that I used to do at work, back in the day, then give them to the youngsters. But...

The Show-Stopper
================
We really did not anticipate the bridge being in the wrong place - it's 10mm too near the neck, which is easily checked by playing the harmonics at the 12th fret.
There is a pitch error of very nearly one semitone (one fret) sharp there - the next fret down in pitch is nearly in tune with the harmonic. That's wrong!
Beyond the 12th fret it gets worse, of course.

It just plays the wrong notes - the higher, the wronger.

With all the open strings in tune (concert pitch, A=440), even open chords can sound sour, which is indeed a show-stopper. Nothing worse than trying to learn an instrument that cannot play in tune - it destroys enthusiasm.

Both of these pretty ukuleles were like this.

Broke my heart to have to send them back, but pulling off a bridge and relocating it in the right place is not a trivial job, and the instruments would need to be re-finished too. Simply too much to fix.

Yes, if you like the look, it does make an interesting wall ornament - the slightly unusual shape is appealing (to us). But both of ours simply could not be played in tune.

You can probably tell that I'm angry - it's such a waste of effort to incorporate a manufacturing error like this in a good-looking ukulele, then put a smooth finish, adequate machine heads and a decent fingerboard on it, ship it halfway round the world and deliver it (promptly and efficiently) to our door, only to have to send the two of them back to Amazon.

If you have one of these, please check the intonation on yours and let us know in the comments, please. It might just be the black ones, mightn't it?

These black Bugs Gear SCGUK11BK Ukuleles are (sadly) not recommended for musical purposes.
<sigh>
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2015 7:50 AM BST


Electret Condenser Boundary Microphone
Electret Condenser Boundary Microphone
Offered by Simply Sound Ltd
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great phantom power boundary mic, directional too!, 5 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very useful microphone that really captures the atmosphere of a performance.
We have been using a pair of these Adastra mics to capture all sorts of things - from solo ukulele to pretty loud rock.
They are used with a Behringer Premium 10 Input 2 Bus Mixer but the reverb/FX version Behringer Xenyx QX1002USB Premium 10 Input 2 Bus Mixer or the smaller one (that is at the moment more costly) Behringer Premium 8 Input 2 Bus Mixer would do equally well.
It does need phantom power, but these mixers provide it and our Adastra mics work well with our mixer.

These are 'Boundary' microphones that are worth a visit to Wikipedia if you have not had the pleasure of using them before. I've used the legendary PZM omnidirectional mics for decades, but made the mistake of lending mine to someone who never reappeared.
<sigh>

Boundary mics are really good in tricky situations, giving a very natural feel with exceptional stereo imaging. These Adastras are almost as good as my much-mourned hand-rewired PZMs, straight out of the box. They have a bonus feature - they are properly directional, unlike the PZMs, and come already equipped with phantom power.

Directionality is really handy, especially if you need a monitoring system in a live recording environment. We've often found that we are providing PA as well as recording facilities and this makes that a lot easier.
The quality is very good indeed, and they are at their best when used as a stereo pair at a live performance. The atmosphere can be faithfully captured in the same sort of way as with the mighty PZMs.

These are good mics, and I recommend them to you.
The bad news is that (like the PZMs) they are no longer listed by the manufacturer - so if you want one (or a pair) now is a very good time to get them...


SanDisk Ultra Fit 32 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 130MB/s
SanDisk Ultra Fit 32 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 130MB/s
Price: £8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Usually work very well indeed, 27 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We've had three of these - two of them worked perfectly, but one went dead after about half an hour's use.
It was replaced immediately (in advance of us doing the return) by Amazon which was wonderful!

The replacement has been working reliably for over a month and we are happy with it - and with the one we bought last year.

It is so compact that it fits unobtrusively into all sorts of hardware, providing non-volatile storage a variety of situations. So tiny that it becomes part of the machine.
The first one has been used to boot an ancient Acer NetBook with an arcane/obsolescent drive interface and a dead drive. This saved us from buying another netbook, so well worth it.
The second one is being used to extend the local storage on a Google Chromebook without any problems.


Adaptor 6.3mm Stereo Plug to 3.5mm Stereo Jack Socket
Adaptor 6.3mm Stereo Plug to 3.5mm Stereo Jack Socket
Offered by Well-Goal
Price: £0.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neatly made and does the job., 27 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good stereo adaptor that fits well and works fine. Recommended!


Leatherman New Wave Nylon Pouch
Leatherman New Wave Nylon Pouch
Price: £5.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Leatherman pouch that does a great job, makes a popular gift too., 27 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These work wonderfully well for a Leatherman tool of the appropriate type, and they look smart too.
If you have and use the Leatherman Wave add-on tools (and I do) they are essential to keep the tiny bit clips in one place.
Everything packs away neatly in this tough Nylon Pouch with room for all the gubbins, and according to my Appearance Critics it's smart enough to wear on a belt, which is what I usually do.

As an engineer I never know when something will need fixing, and these Wave tools are so useful for everything from opening up a computer or speaker cabinet with Torx screws, fiing down part of an up-cycled PET bottle to make a kid's megaphone or just cutting and trimming things to shape with one of the blades - or snipping a broken fingernail with the scissors.

The Leatherman does all that, of course - but without the pouch, it is unlikely to have all the bits with it. And it might not even be in your pocket!
This (with all its bits and pieces inside) gets transferred when I change trousers, so no worries.

Recommended for Leatherman users - and their friends/relatives looking for a suitable gift. Goes well with Leatherman Wave Bit Kit and Leatherman 934850 Quick-Release Pocket Clip and Lanyard Ring.
Pro Tip:
If the Leatherman is to be used on a boat or dock, I strongly recommend adding a lanyard to the Leatherman. These can be easily and cheaply made from heavy duty sporting boot laces.
The lanyard is needed because 'splash' is not a good thing to hear....


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